NBA Draft Date Set As Smith Continues First Round Buzz
Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday night that the 2020 NBA Draft is set for November 18. The mid-November draft date has been the targeted date for the league as of late, potentially providing a timeframe for the start of the 2020-21 NBA season.
The Athletic reported last week that the NBA Draft Combine could be split into two parts—medical exams, drills and virtual interviews beginning mid-September to early October with the second part including prospect interviews beginning mid-October to Draft date.
Former Maryland center Jalen Smith is among the impacted draft prospects this year as the two-year starter transitions from college to the pros. The stretch 6-foot-10 big man has drawn a wide array of selections in mock drafts to-date as his shot-blocking and shooting draws intrigue from scouts around the league. While fans await the moving parts to translate into a finalized plan for the 2020 Draft, we take a look at a handful of Smith’s projections in mock drafts.
Breakdown: “The Maryland product showed tantalizing flashes in his final college season. Here we have a modern stretch-4 for the NBA. If we looked up in five years and saw that Jalen Smith took a higher percentage of 3-pointers than he did shots within 10 feet of the rim, I'd believe it. He is unafraid to shoot from five, 10, 15 or 20 feet away from the hoop. He's got a good wingspan and has proven to be a tougher player than his frame would suggest. Smith was Maryland's best player and got better with each month last season. With an NBA regimen of workouts, meals and weight-training, he can grow into a starting-level power forward within two years. If you told me he's as high as No. 12 or 13 on some boards but as low as No. 32 or 33 on others, it would come as no surprise.”
All Terrapins’ Take: Philadelphia has a pair of cornerstone pieces down low in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but Smith could be a strong fit for the 76ers contingent on who the next head coach is. Like Embiid, Smith would serve as a strong shot-blocker in the rotation as the Sixers could revamp their depth due to Al Horford’s regression and Kyle O’Quinn off to free agency.
Breakdown: “The Timberwolves have two first-round picks this year, and with the second they can add another frontcourt option alongside the aforementioned Towns. Smith was one of the best rim protectors in college basketball last season, averaging 2.4 blocks per contest while also accounting for 10.5 rebounds per. Smith moves his feet well when forced to defend on the perimeter, which is a mush when defending the pick-and-roll. He’d give the Timberwolves additional post depth, which is an area of need this offseason.“
All Terrapins’ Take: the Timberwolves have been searching for a complimentary big man to Karl Anthony-Towns in order to break through as a playoff team and if finding a second scoring option down low is the focus, then Smith could find a role in Minnesota. Smith and Towns both operate as back-to-the-basket big men that can stretch the court, but Smith’s success off the pick-and-roll and ability to shoot the three could give the Timberwolves a second scoring option that can score without having to share constant space with Towns.
Breakdown: “Smith is receiving interest from teams in the mid-first round, according to league sources. He makes far too much sense for the Pelicans; he’s a big who can space the floor with shooting off movement like screens and handoffs. The Pelicans will need a big like Smith next to an interior player like Zion Williamson. Smith needs to make strides on defense, but maybe an NBA program can help him become less stiff and more pliable.”
All Terrapins’ Take: Smith would serve as an intriguing piece to a young yet talented roster. Alongside Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans enter the offseason with Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor headed to free agency to open plenty of playing time for the Baltimore native. The lottery projection gives Smith his highest selection to-date as the skilled center is largely one of the first big men selected in mock drafts.
Breakdown: The Pelicans should be interested in Smith's ability to space the floor and protect the rim next to Zion Williamson. He's drawing rave reviews for his character, work ethic and improvement, both physically and fundamentally.
All Terrapins’ Take: another mock draft projecting Smith to New Orleans, Jonathan Wasserman remains bullish on the Maryland center’s projection to give them another scoring option down low.
All Terrapins’ Take: longtime starting center Steven Adams isn’t getting any younger in Oklahoma City as Nerlens Noel also heads to free agency. Smith serving as the pick-and-roll big man to veteran point guard Chris Paul could yield a strong offense with Smith’s ability to hit the three, but the late round selection could still give him a chance at a starting role as a rookie.